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Pre-Spring Breakdown: Defensive Tackles/Tight Ends

Feb. 4, 2013

As part of a daily series prior to National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 6, Seminoles.com will take a look at each of the returning scholarship players on the roster with a breakdown of what they did in 2012 and what can be of expected of them when spring practices get started.

Brandon Mellor
Brandon Mellor
Seminoles.com Managing Editor
bmellor@fsu.edu
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Last week we looked at the defensive backs and running backs, the quarterbacks and linebackers and then the defensive ends and wide receivers. Today we break down the defensive tackles and tight ends.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

Eddie Goldman

2012 Recap: Played in nine of FSU's 14 games as a reserve defensive tackle during his rookie year. Goldman finished the season with eight tackles and one tackle for loss.

2013 Spring Outlook: With the graduations of Everett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud (Moses McCray, too, although he didn't play last year), Goldman enters his first spring in Tallahassee with a favorable depth chart for more playing time. A former five-star recruit with incredible size, Goldman is a breakout contender this spring as he has all the tools to push not just for more playing time but a starting job as well.

Timmy Jernigan

2012 Recap: FSU's leading tackler among defensive tackles, Jernigan finished his sophomore season with 46 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 1 1/2 sacks and one quarterback hurry. The Lake City, Fla. native started two games.

2013 Spring Outlook: Jernigan is the "big dog" so to speak on the defensive line, with position mates McCloud and Dawkins and defensive ends Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine all training for the NFL Draft. He'll likely enter spring practice penciled in as the full-time starter at defensive tackle where he'll be asked to step up and be a leader on overall young group of returning players.

Demonte McAllister

2012 Recap: Finished the year second among defensive tackles in total tackles with 33 while playing in 13 of 14 games. McAllister added five tackles for loss, 3 1/2 sacks (the most among defensive tackles), one quarterback hurry and one forced fumble.

2013 Spring Outlook: One of the most underrated players on the team, McAllister has steadily improved each year he has been in the program and his final spring in the garnet and gold will likely see that hard work pay off with a starting job. The loss of McCloud, McCray and Dawkins means that McAllister is one of only two senior players on the defensive line so his leadership and playmaking skills will be extremely important.


Jacobbi McDaniel


Jacobbi McDaniel

2012 Recap: McDaniel redshirted during the 2012 season while rehabilitating an ankle injury he sustained in 2011.

2013 Spring Outlook: The redshirt senior will likely make his highly anticipated return to action this spring after an ankle injury he suffered at Duke two seasons ago sidelined him and set him through a rigorous rehab process. McDaniel will go through spring practice one last time with the hopes of readjusting to the game, shaking off the injury and showing consistent progress with his consistency and health. His return is a tremendous boost for the defensive line.

Derrick Mitchell

2012 Recap: Missed all of last season with an injury.

2013 Spring Outlook: Mitchell enters spring practice as a redshirt sophomore that has yet to play a down of football for the Seminoles while battling with injury. If he's healthy, the Jacksonville, Fla. native could prove to be a nice addition to the interior of FSU's line with his impressive size (6-foot-4, 317 pounds) and quick first step. He'll likely begin spring practice towards the bottom of the depth chart but that won't prevent him from earning playing time if he can make plays when given the chance.

Justin Shanks

2012 Recap: Redshirted in his first season with the Seminoles.

2013 Spring Outlook: At 6-foot-2 and about 320 pounds, Shanks looks like a prototypical run-stuffing defensive tackle and that's exactly what FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher and his position coach, Odell Haggins, hope that he can add to the 'Noles' defensive line. Shanks worked hard during his redshirt year to get in the proper shape to compete at the collegiate level and this spring he'll get to push for playing time as a redshirt freshman.

Nile Lawrence-Stample

2012 Recap: Played in eight of 14 games as a redshirt freshman. Lawrence-Stample finished the year with 10 tackles and one tackle for loss.

2013 Spring Outlook: Another young player that will see his role increase following the departure of seniors, Lawrence-Stample could be in the mix for a starting job -- or at least starter's snaps -- in his second spring at FSU. The run-stuffing defender has good size and good strength and showed a lot of promise last spring and in limited action in 2012.

TIGHT ENDS

Kevin Haplea

2012 Recap: Joined the program just before fall camp after transferring from Penn State. Haplea played in 13 of 14 games and grabbed three passes for 15 yards and one touchdown as primarily a blocking tight end.

2013 Spring Outlook: Haplea was new in town but that didn't stop him from ascending to the No. 2 spot at tight behind Nick O'Leary last year and that's likely where he'll begin his first and only spring with the 'Noles. With a full season under his belt after the swift switch from Penn State, Haplea could potentially be a bigger factor in the tight-end gameplan now that he is that much more comfortable with Fisher's offense.

Dan Hicks

2012 Recap: Missed the entire season with a knee injury.

2013 Spring Outlook: Hicks is bouncing back from a fall-camp injury that sidelined what would have been his first season at tight end following an off-season switch from defensive end. Hicks played tight end in high school and was expected to contribute mightily to the rotation at that position last year before the injury. Last spring he showed promise at his new 'Noles position and this year he'll get to do that again while also showing he is fully healed.


Christo Kourtzidis


Christo Kourtzidis

2012 Recap: Played in seven of 14 games as a true freshman and caught one pass for 13 yards.

2013 Spring Outlook: Kourtzidis didn't play much behind O'Leary and Haplea last year but has the tools and size to be a bigger option in the passing game in his second year. Kourtzidis will work with new position coach Billy Napier this spring with the hopes of showing off some of the talent he displayed as one of the top high school tight ends prospects in the country a year ago.

Nick O'Leary

2012 Recap: FSU's starting tight end, O'Leary played in all 14 games and was tied for sixth on the team with 21 catches for 248 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 19.4 yards per reception.

2013 Spring Outlook: With a quarterback battle in full swing this spring, O'Leary could see his pass-game opportunities skyrocket as FSU's young quarterbacks search for a favorite target or a check-down safety valve in the offense. Since signing with FSU as one of the nation's top recruits, O'Leary has carried the weight of high expectations at a program that traditionally hasn't featured much aerial offense from its tight ends. But that could change with his continued development and as the comfort level with whichever quarterback takes over for EJ Manuel continues to grow.

Will Tye

2012 Recap: Played in four of 14 games and did not register any statistics.

2013 Spring Outlook: Tye has terrific athletic ability but has yet to crack the depth chart entering his redshirt junior year. He'll be focused on changing that this spring where his good size, speed and hands could bolster the tight end depth chart if he shows enough consistency at each practice.

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